Prey- An awesome application to track your stolen Laptop and android phone | Linux

Prey is a lightweight application that will help you track and find your laptop and android phone if it ever gets stolen. It works in all operating systems and not only is it Open Source but also completely free. so basically you install a tiny agent in your PC or phone, which silently waits for a remote signal to wake up and work its magic.


This signal is sent either from the Internet or through an SMS message, and allows you to gather information regarding the device’s location, hardware and network status, and optionally trigger specific actions on it

{xtypo_quote_right}From installation to tracking activation, Prey runs silently in the background and uses minimum resources, so thieves would be unaware their movements are being watched.{/xtypo_quote_right}




Prey Features:

– Prey uses either the device’s GPS or the nearest WiFi hotspots to triangulate and grab a fix on its location. It’s shockingly accurate.

– Know your enemy : Take a picture of the thief with your laptop’s webcam so you know what he looks like and where he’s hiding. Powerful evidence.

– Wifi autoconnect If enabled, Prey will attempt to hook onto to the nearest open WiFi hotspot when no Internet connection is found.

– Watch their movements : Grab a screenshot of the active session — if you’re lucky you may catch the guy logged into his email or Facebook account!

– Scan your hardware : Get a complete list of your PC’s CPU, motherboard, RAM, and BIOS information. Works great when used with Active Mode.

– No unauthorized access : Fully lock down your PC, making it unusable unless a specific password is entered. The guy won’t be able to do a thing!

– Light as a feather : Prey has very few dependencies and doesn’t even leave a memory footprint until activated. We care as much as you do.

– Keep your data safe: Hide your Outlook or Thunderbird data and optionally remove your stored passwords, so no one will be able to look into your stuff.

– Full auto updater: Prey can check its current version and automagically fetch and update itself, so you don’t need to manually reinstall each time.


How to install Prey in Ubuntu and Other Linux distributions:

For Ubuntu: Download the .deb package and install it.

After installation, open prey and go to Main settings, select Enable guest account and Wifi autoconnect to improve the possibilities to trace your laptop.



– Reporting mode: choose the recommended one Prey+Control panel


If you are not registred, create a new account and you are done.



For other Linux distributions: Download the zip package for Linux and install it using the following :

First , unzip the package (  and move all the contents to a folder of your choice e.g: /usr/share/prey. Then you need to open up the config file and change your settings according to your configuration. If you’re using the Control Panel, then you only need to insert your API (You can find it under account information) and Device keys; otherwise you need to set up your SMTP server settings.

Finally, you need to add a crontab entry for root. You can do this by typing  the following in a terminal:

$ (sudo crontab -l | grep -v prey; echo "*/20 * * * * /usr/share/prey/ > /var/log/prey.log") | sudo crontab -


How to use Prey:

Now, Once you are registered and get your device (laptop) listed on the website, you can tell Prey, via the website anytime, that your laptop is missing by going to  clicking on the appropriate device listing , changing the “Missing” slide switch to “on” and hitting the update button at the bottom of the page. There are other options in there you can change as well to suit your needs. The next time your laptop can find an internet connection and check in, Prey will have it sending reports out so you can find it.


Some screenshots from Prey control Panel:



– Configuration for phones (Android) and Laptops:


– Additional configuration for Laptop


Useful Links:

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  • Guillaume Voisine

    Sadly, I believe the first thing a thief would do with a stolen Linux laptop would be to format it and install Windows… Still, very interesting.

  • feelys

    This USB 3.0 Front Panel Kit can be installed into a free 3.5 bay of your computer and can be connected internally by using the included PCI Express card. Installing PCI Express cards is easy, simply unscrew and remove your computer’s main body case cover. On your PC’s motherboard near the rear of the computer you’ll see some slots. Then you just plug it in there and take a screw driver to secure it to the back. It expands your system by two USB 3.0 ports which are also downwards compatible to USB 2.0 and USB 1.1. You can connect different USB devices like Docking Station, Card Reader, external enclosure etc.

  • feelys

    usb 3.0 front panel
    usb 3.0 expresscard

  • Rick Mizell

    Most thieves get rid of the computer asap.
    If not you may expect some experimentation from the thief.

    I spoke to a Detective here in Nashville about Prey and how it worked.

    He stated "not to give up on the laptop to soon. Pawnshops hold goods for approx 90 days. Then they are set out to sell.

    This software is awesome. I’ve installed it on several customers laptops. Fortunately they’ve never had to use it. I’ve tested it on several devices, laptops, Netbooks here at my shop.

    I received In an e-mail from Tomás Pollak, CEO Fork Ltd he stated,

    "As for the iPad/iPhone version, they’re on their way but it’s hard to give you an exact date. I hope we can push a beta test at least during January/February".

    Ugh not that I’m a iPone user just thought it relative.

    Love your articles, you guys are an inspiration and have helped me and mine become the Linux users we are today. Keep up thee tremendous work.

    Rick Mizell

  • John

    any possibility to run prey to work without any OS..?
    i mean hacking bios get inside it and run with whatever OS installed

    this will be useful if the thief reinstall/format the system…

  • http://enteryoursiteURL... Leandro

    I have disabled autologin for my ubuntu laptop. This means that the Prey will not run on the background unless the thieve log in right?

    Also, the laptop wont connect to any hotspots. I presume that the first thing to do for them would be format the disk and install other OS.

    Anyway I’ll give it a try.


  • STDB

    Watch this for how to recover a stolen laptop after 2 years

  • http:// FedeleP

    Thanks for the article. Prey can now be installed using BleedingEdge.

  • luxo

    can prey track a formated laptop

  • puppet

    can i just testing it for the first time???

  • Jeremiah Holes

    Software Manager gave me this message to relay back to "the orginization from where you got it:" Lintian check results for /tmp/prey_0.5.3-ubuntu2_all.deb:
    E: prey: wrong-file-owner-uid-or-gid usr/ 1000/1000

    E: prey: wrong-file-owner-uid-or-gid usr/share/ 1000/1000

    E: prey: wrong-file-owner-uid-or-gid usr/share/applications/ 1000/1000

    E: prey: wrong-file-owner-uid-or-gid usr/share/applications/prey-config.desktop 1000/1000

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